Oh, Behave!

I just don't flipping get it.

Do you ever feel like your oldest kid is a glorified guinea pig? Like the poor child is subjected to all your mistakes and missteps and poor parenting judgments, all your moments of "duh, what do I do now?" and all the things you do before you realize hey, that was a terrible idea? I hate that feeling. I figured it would get easier with time ... that, since Curtis and I have been parenting Colin for nearly seven years now, we'd feel more confident. More secure in the decisions we make on his behalf.

But, uh ... we don't. Or at least, I don't.

Y'all remember this post? In a nutshell, I was griping about the seemingly-endless stream of negative notes Colin was bringing home from school in his daily planner. Seriously, almost every day there was something different from someone different: the art teacher. The gym teacher. The music teacher. The classroom teacher. The recess monitors. The lunchroom monitors. Colin wasn't following procedures. Colin was bothering other students. Colin was using inappropriate language (seriously, they called us in for an emergency middle-of-the-day parent-teacher meeting because he said "chicken poop." WTF!). I dreaded opening his planner, like, "Who's hating on my kid today?" I felt like a horrible parent because they obviously felt that my son was the "bad seed." I felt deeply sad because I know he isn't a bad seed, and they just didn't know the Colin that we know. I felt confused, because we'd tried everything from punishments to positive reinforcements.

And still nothing changed. Note after note.

And then Curtis went to the school and talked with several of Colin's teachers, and the principal. He told them what we've been telling them for eons - that if they'd give Colin more of a challenge, he'd likely fall into line. He told them we were frustrated with his behavior and with the bad reports, and mentioned that we were seriously considering homeschooling him.

He said their response was surprising. Like, "Oh no, we'd hate to see Colin leave, we love him so much, he's just a little sweetheart, he's so interesting to talk to!"

My response when he told me that was, "Huh?" I mean, if he's such a sweetheart, if they love him so dearly, then why the negative notes home every day? I just didn't get it.

And now there's something else I don't get.

Since that meeting? There have been NO NOTES. None. It's been almost a month. Colin gets a smiley face in his planner every day. He has been bringing home small prizes, like a mini-Slinky and a curly straw, for good behavior. The art teacher, the music teacher, the gym teacher, the lunchroom ladies ... they're all silent. No "Colin was doing this" or "Colin wasn't doing that" or "Please remind Colin of blah blah blah."

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

I'm not sure I get it. Nothing has changed at home as far as the way we deal with Colin. He is the same kid here that he's always been. He's bringing home the same homework and still complaining that it's too easy (and it is). Yet he's done a total 180 at school and gone from the kid they loved to gripe about d-a-i-l-y to the kid whose behavior is so good it merits a prize?

Why? What's going on?

Any theories? Because I have no idea. Were they seriously that afraid of losing him (and if so, why in the heck?) that they stopped the notes because they don't want us to pull him out of school next year? Are they keeping his bad behaviors to themselves because they thought we were complaining about the volume of notes? Did they realize that things like saying "chicken poop" aren't really that big of a deal and back off? Or has he really made this miraculous transformation? And if so, what the heck happened?!

We thought we had come up with a good solution for next year. There's a school here in our district that they're making into multi-age classrooms, where the kids advance at their own pace - which we feel would be perfect for Colin. But now that he seems to have renewed enthusiasm for his school - and they seem to have renewed enthusiasm for him - is it a good idea to transfer him?

It's all so effing confusing. I think he left his instruction manual inside my uterus when he came out.

I'm emailing his teacher today to set up a meeting. We've got to go down there and find out what in the h-e-double-hockeysticks is the deal with this abrupt (and unnerving, and weird) change. I guess I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak, but it seems fishy.


  1. this would make me very suspicious. Since Colin hasn't changed at all, and the problem pretty clearly seems to be with his lack of challenge rather than actual behavioral issues, I would say that it seems like they have just stopped sending notes because you scared them with your talk of pulling him out of school. I don't know why that would be such a threat, but clearly they were over-reacting about his poor behavior before and are now over-reacting about your concern. if I was you and I had found a different school that seemed more perfectly catered to my child I would move him. Nothing his current school has done inspires any sort of loyalty or confidence.

    good luck!

  2. We have been threw the ringer with the girls school about what's happening with conner and its kinda the same thing over and over, I hope u get to the bottom of things

  3. The multi-age classroom where they advance at their own pace sounds like a Montessori school, is it? If so, go for it!

  4. I think that, because Colin is so academically advanced, the teachers expect way too much maturity from him. He's a CHILD, for heaven's sake! And maybe they also realized just how bored he really is. I'd still seriously consider transferring him, but wait to make your decision after the conference with his teacher. And of course, see how he feels about it.

  5. yes, they are just keeping their mouths shut because your husband came in :) It really is that simple. Former teacher and now homeschooler....things didn't change 180 over night!!! I definately like the idea of the multi-age classroom if you dont feel comfortable homeschooling. Sounds more his learning style.

  6. I think it may have something to do with money. I know here, the schools get money based on student number and even more for student attendance. Alexis has had straight A's, a 4.26 GPA, in the honor society and takes all Pre-AP classes. Every. single. day. she is absent I get a nasty letter from the school district threating to charge ME with a misdeamenor. (Even the day I pulled her out 20 mins early for a dental appt) Not kidding.

    After many calls to the school, school district and the district judges office I've discovered it all comes down to money. For every day that she's absent (or hour in jr high/highschool) the school loses quite a bit of money.

    If your school were to lose a student completely, that would end up being a loss of federal funds and state funds, in all kinds of areas. If your school is semi-small that could make an impact on the all-ready budget strained schools.

    Also, if the school/class size is smaller, he may well be carrying a lot of the weight in the class for the states standardized test. Schools get graded (and get funds in some cases) depending on how well their students do on those test. A super smart student who's highly likely to ace those tests can add a nice buffer if they have a few others who are falling a bit behind.

  7. Hi, I am a new reader and I have a bunch of thoughts on this.
    First, you sent a guy to talk to the principal and teachers. Excellent move. Most of them talk to the mom and if a dad shows up they will automatically back down and get over themselves.

    Athough I agree with the prior comments here I also think that teachers go in cycles....they are seeing what Colin does but is he actually REACTING to another student? That was what happened to my son. My son was being bullied and the other kid was so slick that my son was the one getting busted. This happened until the other kids reported the bully and the bully got in trouble. There is more to the story than that but the basis is, as soon as that kid was caught by other students and in trouble a good number of the poor reports home stopped.

    Secondly, although they would loose money for the student....it is likely that they are looking for things to get more money in. The state also provides more money for kids who the school may report as a behavior problem or something like that. It isn't a bad thing but they may be looking to get something additional for a kid supposedly causing problems.....this part is definitely bugetary.

    It also could be that the teacher(s) in question have a total lack of control in the classroom. Believe me if you go in and observe some of these classes you would be amazed at what goes on....although they might be able to put on a good show for you.....

    1. I should have read all the posts prior to my big and strong making comment.but yes this is very true

  8. Somewhere along the line, hopefully the school staff/faculty have become more aware of him and his levels period, and hopefully it is getting better for them and him both

  9. Schools get a certain amount of money from each governmental branch. They more than likely were afraid of losing it if you did pull him out. I say this because you mentioned NOTHING has changed at home and school work. Do some research before your meeting. And the option with multi age children is awesome!


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